Special beer toasts Wherry Albion’s 65th celebration

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THURSDAY 1ST MAY, 12.30 pm Ranworth Staithe

The iconic 116yr old wherry Albion will be marking her 65th year since she was rescued by Norfolk Wherry Trust in style on Thursday 1st May.

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She will be arriving at Ranworth staithe on Malthouse Broad, at about 12.30pm, carrying a celebration cargo of ‘Jenny Morgan’ beer, specially brewed for her by Green Jack Brewery of Lowestoft. It will be sold to raise funds to keep Albion afloat for future generations.

In true May Day style Albion will be met by Gold Star Morris who will dance the barrel of beer from the staithe to The Malsters pub, where it will be available to sample. Fish and chips made with special Jenny Morgan beer batter will be on the lunch time menu.

As well as being able to enjoy the fun and sample the fish and chips and ale, the public will be welcome to look round one of only two surviving examples of a traditional sailing barge.

Made of solid oak, Albion is some 65ft long and 16ft wide, carrying 1200sq ft of sail. Originally she earned her living carrying cargo inland from sea going ships and from town to town in the Broads.

“They were the lorries of Broadland”, says Henry Gowman, her skipper and a director of Norfolk Wherry Trust. “It was a huge undertaking to rescue Albion back in 1949, but the real dedication and hard work has been in keeping her in sailing condition ever since.

“There were over 300 wherries plying the rivers and broads back in the early 20th century which makes Albion an important part of our maritime heritage. She is now a member of the fleet of National Historic Ships.”